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As summer transitions into fall, many celebrate the change. Cooler temperatures, cozy hoodies, sturdy boots, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice and crackling fires herald the arrival of the holiday season.
I love fall. However, in the past, fall didn’t always love me. Along with all the joys of the season came seasonal allergies, fatigue, colds, viruses and flu bugs.
Most of us feel powerless against seasonal changes and the ailments that often accompany them. However, I’ve discovered my health is not captive to the whims of nature. Your health isn’t either.
Check out these tips for a healthy fall…and a more enjoyable season.
Tips for a Healthy Fall
These ten tips make life a bit easier during fall. They don’t rely on equipment or unusual foods. Nor do they require a lot of time.
Vitamin D Every Day
I can’t stress enough the importance of this vitamin. Ten minutes of sunlight or two 1000 mg capsules a day protects the body against a wide range of diseases and conditions.
Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, protects against cancer, supports lung, heart, brain and nervous system health, improves mood AND boosts the immune system.
Boost Your Immune System
If there’s one health tip I’ve repeated over and over this year, during the pandemic, it’s this one: build up your immune system. It is the first line of defense against invading viruses, bacteria and allergens. A weak immune system in a body already struggling against ailments can’t handle one more invader.
Strengthen your immune system by drinking lots of water, getting enough vitamin D, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the face and eyes. Eat highly nutritious foods.
And along with vitamin D, add vitamin C, zinc, L-lysine, olive leaf and echinacea to your diet. Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria, which is vital to a strong immune system.
Cooler temperatures take a toll on the skin, drying it out and causing flakiness, cracking or itchiness.
Drink water and herbal teas, add high water content foods such as cucumber and celery to your diet along with healing herbs like calendula, lavender and rose. Check out a full list of helpful foods and herbs for the skin HERE.
Go to Bed Earlier
During the fall months, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning we turn our clocks back one hour. It gets dark earlier in the day and the nights seem long. The change can disrupt our sleep schedules creating fatigue and moodiness.
Take advantage of the longer nights. Get to bed earlier. Establish a night time routine that prepares the body for sleep.
Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. Take a warm shower or bath. Listen to calming music. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Fall asleep counting the blessings from the day.
Prepare for Seasonal Allergies
As one who suffered for many years with fall allergies, I can attest to the power of increasing health to ward them off. One in five people suffer from seasonal allergies. In the fall, ragweed is the primary culprit.
Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.
Lessening and ultimately avoiding fall allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly, handling allergens without creating symptoms in the body.
Avoid eggs, gluten, canola oil, GMO soy and corn, dairy products and MSG. These foods create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system.
Include wild blueberries, lemons, limes, celery, garlic, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, onions, oranges, cranberries and raw, local honey (from conscientious bee keepers).
Enjoy Seasonal Foods
Take advantage of the foods of the season. Enjoy more apples, pears, beets, broccoli, cabbage, squash, root veggies, dark leafy greens, cranberries, persimmons and that seasonal favorite, pumpkin.
These plentiful foods perfectly protect the body against diabetes, improve heart health and lower blood pressure levels. Pumpkins offer vitamins C and A and their seeds help lower cholesterol.
Talk to Your Doctor about a Flu Shot
A flu vaccination can keep you healthier by preventing illness due to flu. The shot reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for children, working adults and older adults. It’s especially important for those with chronic health conditions.
And while a flu shot will not prevent COVID19, getting one may prevent overwhelming healthcare systems that are already dealing with the virus. Additionally, a flu vaccine saves healthcare resources for the care of people with COVID.
Beat Stress During the Holiday Season
For many people, the holidays bring additional stress. And I think we can agree that 2020 brought enough of that already.
Establish stress reducing practices NOW, before the holiday season starts.
Begin the day with a morning meditation and a short time of journaling or free writing. During the day practice deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretches or gentle aerobics. End the day with thankfulness, writing, meditation or deep breathing, letting go of the stresses of the day and finding things to express gratitude for.
Cooler temperatures after a hot summer invite outdoor activities. And fall offers many possibilities.
Rake leaves, tidy up the garden or go for long walks in nature. Jog, ride a bicycle or engage in sports. Getting outside for fresh air and exercise boosts mood and creativity. Plus it reduces inflammation, relieves stress and anxiety and strengthens immunity.
Be Kind to Yourself
During this transition into fall, practice self kindness and self love.
Fall may bring colds, viruses and allergies. Shorter days can usher in depression. During the holidays, it’s easy to gain weight and feel increased stress and loneliness.
Be exceedingly kind to yourself during these months. Set aside at least one afternoon or evening a week to practice self care such as reading, a long soak in the tub, walks in nature, cups of hot herbal tea or writing. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Create. Play.
Taking care of the body and improving health is incomplete without caring for all aspects of ourselves, including mental and emotional health. As the saying goes, the body eavesdrops on the mind. A mind churning with negative thoughts, regrets, anxiety or despair greatly impacts the body’s well being.
Talk to yourself, care for yourself, the way you would someone you deeply love.
How Will You Care for Yourself this Fall?
Which tips can you implement, to improve your health and wellness this fall? Start with one or two suggestions, feel the difference they make, then adopt another…and another.
This is the season of thankfulness. And in spite of the many challenges this year offered, we can find much to express gratitude for. May your improving health be something to rejoice over.
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.